Grass to plant for chickens to graze on

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by Randy O, May 12, 2013.

  1. Randy O

    Randy O Hatching

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    I have free range birds and want to plant grass for them to forage on. Any suggestions as to what would be a good permanent grass to plant. I have planted annual and Abruzza Rye in the past, but the heat of Summer in Florida kills it. I need a good grass that will last year round. I have St Augustine in the yard, but that does not seem to interest them as much as the Rye. Thanks for any and all suggestions.I have a little Coastal Bermuda..too.
     
  2. StephieSky

    StephieSky Songster

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    Chickens aren't cows. lol
    They don't like eating grass any more than you would. :) I've been reading a lot about chickens this week at work when I should have been working lol Your best bet is to keep the grass you have and plant some plants that attract bugs for them to hunt down. I just bought Quinoa seeds so I can start a bed of Quinoa. Its an annual herb but if I don't harvest it, it will self sow and the chickens should like the seed heads well enough. I got the parti-colored seed which will have red, yellow and pink feathery seed heads this fall. :) Pretty!
    Of course, I could be totally wrong but everything I've read so far says chickens don't eat grass. They are not ruminents and have a decided preference for the same things bears would eat. As they are omnivores. Which means they don't have the proper digestive tract for effectively digesting a grass based diet.


    Well, I guess I was wrong. MY chickens haven't touched grass for the whole week since I got them. Oh, once or twice they pecked at a seed head in the back lawn but quickly lost interest. They get a constant supply of crumble in their kennel, mealworms for breakfast when the door gets opened for the days start abt. 5 am weekdays and a bit later weekends. They have access to beds of kale, spinach, leaf lettuce and strawberries but don't bother them enough to do any real damage. Just a nibble here and there. Mostly they hunt bugs and sweets and haven't bothered any of my edible flowers. Not even the nasturtiums or pansies. But then I might have lazy chickens. They spend a lot of time rolling around in the bark beds under the flowering shrubs in my back lawn and napping. I guess having 2 chickens less than a month I probably shouldn't believe everything I read and see :) Or at the very least I should wait a while before a asume the things I read are true :)
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  3. Hypertay

    Hypertay In the Brooder

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    I don't know what kind of chickens you have, but all of mine eat grass. They not only eat it, they strip it out of the ground by the roots and then dig up the dirt until they can wallow in it. Everywhere I put their coop and run, they have turned into a moonscape/desert. If I don't adjust the movable run an inch or two in the mornings so they can get at the edges of the grass outside it for a bit, they whine and cackle at me until I do. We have the nastiest grass that grows big ugly clumps all over the hill and they don't care! They love it, And they eat rose petals too!

    Randy, plant something very inexpensive, because you will be replanting it often! Or just toss down some whole oats or wheat or barley, it all turns into nice grass that your birds can eat. You'll probably have to cover it to keep out the wild birds.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
    FHF ChickenMom, NickTX and Clay Mudd like this.
  4. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

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    Chickens will eat just about any living plant in your yard. There are a few exceptions, but very few. They will definitely eat grass and if you do not have a very big yard for them to pasture in they will eat ALL your grass. They eat leaves, vines, flowers, roots. Everything.

    How big is your space and do you care if the landscaping or grass remains?
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  5. appps

    appps Crowing

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    Yeah mine eat grass too, they seem to prefer softer blade types like kikuyu to the harder like buffalo. As for wrong digestive system I imagine that's where the grit comes in
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2013
  6. Randy O

    Randy O Hatching

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    Thanks all for your replies. I have 4 acres, mostly St. Augustine, but some Coastal Bermuda in the orchard..They will eat the young shoots of it, but don't much like the mature grass. Last Fall I planted a plot of Annual Rye in front to the coop that is wilting now with the onset of the heat. I really don't like Bahia, Argentine or Pennsacola, so that's out..something that is fine bladed, and fast growing is what I am looking for..Wheat, Barley and Rye don't do very well in Florida in the Summer..I will have a dozen or so Lavender Orpington chicks in a few weeks..what fun!!
     
  7. MossyOaks

    MossyOaks In the Brooder

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    This is an older thread, but I'm having a hard time finding one that relates to fodder and the mix of seeds I should use.

    First, I want to use fodder as a supplement only. And mostly just for this coming winter, I live in northeast Nebraska and we have zero greens in the winter. I found some pretty cool ideas on cabbage tethered to the coop for them to pick at. But I want my small flock of 5 hens to have good nutrition in the winter months. As well as try and provide some bugs. I am worried about buying mealworms and other bugs from places like earl may, as they may not be free of micro/worms and other parasites. If anyone sees this, please feel free to direct me to a updated post on this issue and maybe something about setting up a small fodder feeding system for 5 hens. Thank you
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

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    You will get more and more appropriate response if you start a new thread instead of tagging onto one that is 4 years old. People look at those start dates, and don't respond to old threads, unless it's an ongoing thread that folks stay with for months and years. You could cut and paste your post to a new thread.
     
  9. MossyOaks

    MossyOaks In the Brooder

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    Since I'm new can you direct me to starting a new thread? Been looking for a way but not getting anywhere.
     
  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road 5 Years

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    Sure: In each main section, like: Feeding & Watering Your Flock, there is a little blue box in the top right corner that says: "start a new thread". click on that box, and it will give you windows to title and put the message in your thread. Yeah, I had a hard time with that when I started posting on BYC also. Welcome to BYC, and don't be shy about starting new threads. It's the best way to get a response directed at YOUR issue/question or subject. New posts are what keep the discussion going here.
     

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